Newfoundland – June 2016

A visit to Newfoundland has been on my list of things to do – not really a bucket list since I may just do it more than once before I kick – and with the Canadian dollar in the doldrums this year I thought it was time.   Although the weather in early June was chilly and wet and foggy,  I had a very wonderful atmospheric holiday, seeing puffins, whales, icebergs and my friends Glenda and Marshall Godwin, all natural Newfie phenomena.

Here are just a few of my photos.

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Cape Spear Lighthouse

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Fishing village

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Spectacular iceberg near Dunfield

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I was not deterred by the frequent drizzle and fog

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Humpback whale

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Puffins

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Signal Hill, St John’s

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View from Signal Hill

 

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Visiting friends was a treat

 

 

How to enjoy summery weather in Toronto

Although the end of May in Canada is not usually thought of as summer, this week has had spectacular weather and we are all emerging from hibernation in shorts and sandals and sunscreen.

I am to work in Toronto for the next few days.  One might think that the heart of the city is not the place to be in 29 degree weather but Toronto’s waterfront offers a delightful opportunity to inaugurate summer.

I ventured along the Harbourfont and ended up with a beer or three in a big Muskoka chair (Canadians will know what this is) on the patio of  a busy establishment called Amsterdam.  Last year I had sat in the same place and ended up having a great conversation with a guy who was traveling from Italy to North Amercia for the first time.  After a couple of beers we ended up wandering through the downtown so I could point out some of the landmarks.  Federico is still a Facebook friend and I will send him this so he can recall our visit.  

Enjoying a summer refeshment wit h a new acquaintance from Brazil.

This year there were four guys from Brazil sitting next to me.  One was visiting and three had recently moved to Canada. One was a musician and another a resident in cardiovascular surgery at U of T.   We shared some drinks and lots of conversation. I liked hearing about Brazil and they found me somewhat unique – a born and bred Canadian in Toronto where almost everyone has a different ethnic background or is an immigrant.  (I heard this week that there are 142 mother tongues spoken in Toronto apart from English and French.) Diego, the lawyer from Brazil, talked me into getting a Go-pro camera.  Usually this kind of camera is used to video sports activities like skiing or windsurfing or sky-diving.  Not sure if a video of me walking to Starbucks will be as exciting.
One of our main topics was the huge yacht that was tied up right in front of us.  The name of the boat was Big Eagle and under the name it said “Kingston”. Not Kingston Ontario for sure.   Turns out this 52 meter (172 ft) yacht, flying the flag of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, is privately owned, had come from Florida and was heading to Chicago.  We googled the boat to find that it sleeps 14, has a crew of 10 and rents for $140,000 a week plus expenses, which might include filling the 104,000 liter fuel tank.  You can find it’s current position here

On my way back to my hotel, I grabbed a Beavertail, my favourite being the one with sugar and cinnamon and lemon.  Can’t get much more Canadian than eating a Beavertail under the CN Tower. 

Spring reflections in photos -Pt 2

Yesterday I posted some spring photos. Several of the pictures I took had interesting reflection in the smooth lake so I have grouped them together here.  Part 2.  You can see yesterday’s other photos here if you missed them. It delights me that I have been able to take all these photos within about 10 minutes of my home in beautiful downtown Kingston, Ontario.

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Celebrating Spring in Kingston Ontario

Exactly three weeks ago I posted a blog with some photos I took along the shoreline of Lake Ontario in Kingston. (You can see them here) The lake was still covered in ice – enough, in fact, that people were out playing hockey and walking and ice-boating on the lake.

Today is Easter Sunday  – March 27.  It is a gorgeous sunny day. The ice is gone from all but a few corners of the lake. Folks are out with their kids and their dogs and cameras and even a couple of boats are in the water.  What a difference three weeks makes.

Here are some photos I took today, some of them from precisely where I took pictures of the ice on March 6.  I am happy today to be celebrating spring in Kingston.

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Today seemed like we were on the brink of spring – a clear, sunny, cold day in early March that promises springtime but hangs on to the vestiges of winter.   Lake Ontario had been made smooth by the partial melting of the surface ice in the sunshine.  Students couldn’t resist walking or skating or skimming over the frozen lake with ice boats.

Pictures always worth 1000 words.

My  friends in Africa won’t quite comprehend how the lake could be like this.

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Safari 2016. Part 10.  Vibrant colours at Busagazi School, Uganda

We were not deterred by bumpy roads to the Busagazi School on an island in Lake Victoria between Jinja and Kampala, Uganda.  We had to alight from the truck and walk the final kilometer or so up a dusty red road to the school site.  In the last few months we constructed two classrooms at this school where only one existed before… to serve about 600 students.  Since we came on board to help, another Croatian organization has also constructed classrooms.  We were warmly  greeted by the community even though our visit coincided with a school holiday.  An enjoyable day, all in all, drenched in colour and joyful community celebration.

   

 

 

We signed an MOU at the school to provide 48 desks for the new classrooms.


    

  
  

Summer day by the lakeshore.

The long weekend at the first of August had perfect summery weather here in Kingston although it seems that some of Ontario experienced severe thunderstorms.  I spent a few hours yesterday by the lake taking about 300 photos of folks enjoying the day.  I won’t drop them all on you but hope this few gives you a taste of the day.

 
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Lazy summer weekend in Kingston


I have been a bit lazy about blogging over the summer. Outdoors. On the move. Every once in a while, pulled out my phone to grab a photo.  So since a picture is worth 1000 words, here are a few thousand to illustrate the sultry weekend we have had in Kingston, Canada.  Summer doesn’t last long enough!

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The gift of tranquility

It is a calm, almost balmy, May evening on the waterfront in Kingston.  Folks are strolling and absorbing the warmth and the quiet.

As I walk along, I am troubled, however, thinking of the young man, a stranger to me, who chose to end his life this week by throwing himself from the 17th floor of the apartment building where I live.  I grieve for him and for his family.  As I soak up the beautiy of this early summer night, I am saddened that this fellow, a boy really, must have felt such overwhelming turmoil and despair and that he will never again experience this peacefulness.

It is heartbreaking.

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